"I was very surprised. I have a lot of respect for Vitor, he's a former UFC tournament winner and a former light heavyweight champion and one day he'll be in the Hall of Fame," Bisping said. "I train at the gym where his sponsors work and that's not a problem, so I thought we were going to be respectful to each other, but we were in Brazil talking to the press in separate rooms and I heard from Brazilian press that he had called me a hooligan."
Bisping fights Belfort on Jan. 19 at UFC on FX 7, and a win would put him in line for a title shot against UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
"I was being respectful and, for him to call me a hooligan, when all of his biggest wins in the UFC came from illegal shots to the back of the head... He is a cheater," Bisping said. "He's been hitting people in the back of the head for years and I'm training to defend myself exactly from that, because I know he's gonna try that again."
Bisping added that Belfort tried to text him to explain he was just joking around. The standout British brawler did not accept Belfort's explanation.
"What made me lose respect for Vitor was the fact that, after he insulted me behind my back, he sent me a text message telling me he didn't mean that and even wrote a 'LOL' and put some smileys in the text," Bisping said. "At least admit to what you've said about me, you're a grown man. We're not friends, we're not school mates, so stick your text messages up your ass."